Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants his country to be on the cutting edge of the robotics industry. During a recent visit to a number of Japanese factories that build robots for industrial and care-giving purposes, Abe revealed his plans to bring about a “robotic revolution” in Japan.
These plans include tripling Japan’s robotics budget to 2.4 trillion yen (~$23.5 billion USD) to make robotics a “major pillar” of Japan’s economic growth in the future. Abe also revealed his intention to host the world’s first robotic olympics.
“In 2020, I would like to gather all of the world’s robots and aim to hold an Olympics where they compete in technical skills,”
he told reporters from Japan’s Jiji Press agency. Abe hopes that the robotics industry can help revitalize Japan’s economy, which has been stagnating under the pressures of deflation for decades now.
He believes that robotics will be particularly important for Japan’s future because of the country’s aging population and declining workforce.
Abe’s announcement comes during a time of major robot launches in Japan. One of these is a robotic suit which can be controlled just by thinking. It was designed by the company Cyberdyne.
The suit picks up the weak electrical impulses that our brains send to our limbs when we start to move. The robot is then able to move perfectly in sync with that motion, providing extra strength and stability to the movement. It’s hoped that it will drastically improve the lives of people living with ailments that effect movement, like muscular dystrophy or serious arthritis.
A humanoid robot, named “Pepper” was also revealed earlier this month, by major cell phone company SoftBank. Pepper’s creators claim the robot can understand human emotions as well as 70-80% of spontaneous conversation.
The field of robotics is making huge advancements, maybe none more impressive than the robotic suit that allowed Juliano Pinto to kick-off the World Cup back on June 12.
The suit was designed by the Walk Again Project, a project headed by Miguel Nicolelis, a Brazilian neuroscientist based at Duke University. Nicoleleis hopes the project will make relatively normal movement a real possibility for people left paralyzed by spinal injuries.
Read the original story from the Telegraph here.